Mens sana in corpore sano, right? 144 IQ and a couple of Ivy League degrees, ran the 2003 Portland Marathon and finished in the exact middle of the field. (A satisfactory performance at 53, on a base of 6 months of training.)
Working as an architect I take a 'constructive' view of life. (and lard my conversation with bad puns.) I'm a gentle, a generous person, but there's spring steel underneath my compassion, and I'm pretty Type A whether in the studio or on a job site.
I share very few of the beliefs that seem to comfort - or at least occupy the minds of - my neighbors: their politics, their religion. But I'm an understanding and respectful skeptic.
Having been an anthropologist, and a classical archaeologist, standing beneath the Sardian acropolis amid the moonlit ruins of the temple of Artemis Ephesia, it is hard to take very seriously any particular claim of absolute eternal truth or value. Especially the shallow pretensions of suburban religion.
But it is also impossible to dismiss the perennial recurrence of great themes in human culture - and human emotional life - as meaningless.
I know the sources of popular beliefs deep in historical time, and as deep in childhood yearnings. I respect their apparent usefulness in other people's lives. I just don't believe in them.
"A mind, once stretched by a new idea, can never regain its former dimensions." --- Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.
I do take great comfort in music, both as a hearer and performer.
The living archetype of the "wounded healer," I believe in understanding clearly, without prejudice, and living with courtesy, fierce compassion, and inner intensity: doing my best - physically, mentally, spiritually - as long as I'm alive and able.
Now, this being America, and as I do not wish to mislead anyone, I must clarify my all-important Relationship Status. "Available" is not explanation enough, it seems.
I am available for friendship. I have no particular preconceptions about friendships either having to be sexual - or AVOID being sexual. This seems like the sort of thing that grown-ups ought to be able to work out for themselves, if they use their words and don't hit.
I have plenty of great conversations and exciting activities and collaborations with people who I never expect to find in my bed, and the only reason I bother mentioning this is that I don't want anyone feeling they've been tricked or "betrayed."
In Europe, marriage among the creative classes is as often as not a genteel fiction that helps children grow up feeling secure. Here it is a sort of institutional quarantine that we must put up with in order not to alarm the benighted evangelicals, or frighten the horses.
Cataloguing my other relationships, first of all, I have lively conversations and very loyal, affectionate inter-species acquaintanceships with several furry felines and a german shorthair pointer.
In addition, the multiple HUMAN relationships that I loyally sustain, simultaneously(!) include fatherhood, and cousinhood, and what I suppose we have to call an "Open Marriage" of sorts (for lack of any better name) ... which is something that many people apparently expect me to apologize for.
My wife certainly doesn't!
After 20-odd years together, she (a horticultural soil scientist, avid gardener, and award-winning quilter) understands just as well as I do, from her own actual experience, that on the rare occasions when either of us actually has an active intimate connection going with another adult, this neither distracts nor detracts from, but rather enhances (by illuminating and clarifying) our mutual appreciation, and enriches our lives with new ideas and activities introduced by the third party. The daily routine perks up quite markedly! We are reminded of specifically WHY we got married, and take responsibility for our choices.
At present, though, distance, family responsibilities, and professional commitments mean the "Open" aspect of our "Marriage" is, alas, back to being totally theoretical. We each exchange emails and holiday cards with various former lovers, but 99% of the time, we live just like anybody else.
So I am no match for Don Giovanni... no Leporello would sing:
"Madamina, il catalogo è questo
Delle belle che amò il padron mio;
un catalogo egli è che ho fatt'io;
Osservate, leggete con me.
In Italia seicento e quaranta;
In Alemagna duecento e trentuna;
Cento in Francia, in Turchia novantuna;
Ma in Ispagna son già mille e tre."
For us, "Open Marriage" amounts to nothing more than an easy-going, generous, and cheerful approval of our partner's attraction to (and for) other people. Our (adult) kids know all about it, think our occasional lovers are nice, and have similar views themselves. And interestingly, they are (if anything) markedly LESS promiscuous than their peers as a direct result.
We are very well aware that some other people are tormented by jealous anguish, rages, and so on. Othello, spousal abuse, all that stuff. Very sad. This is clearly pathological, and to us seems rooted in deep insecurity, and is most disappointing. We are grateful we are not similarly afflicted.
Now, it would be as unseemly for anyone to mock those who suffer jealousy as for an athlete to mock a person who is disabled and confined to a wheelchair. But neither is there any reason for us to pretend we cannot walk independently, when we are able.
The various privileges and benefits we get from being legally married do help us care for each other, and for my son, and for her son and daughter, who all are supposedly adults but living with us becasue they don't seem to be able to function without the work discipline and structured home environment we create for them. And of course being married (and respecting other people's expectations) allows us to socialize harmlessly with colleagues and neighbors who otherwise might be all a-flutter over nothing.
Otherwise, our married status is a more-or-less unavoidable concession to emotional limitations that we simply don't share - and very expensive at tax time (due to AMT and bracket shift). (Why the government taxes you more depending on who you sleep with, I simply don't get...)
If you hope to meet interesting people, maybe this will seem an interesting wrinkle... Or if you already enjoy, or think you would enjoy, a similar relationship (open, poly, or whatever you want to call it) then what the heck, read on!